Front Page Titles (by Subject) E.: AMENDMENT XV (1870) - Liberty, Order, and Justice: An Introduction to the Constitutional Principles of American Government
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E.: AMENDMENT XV (1870) - James McClellan, Liberty, Order, and Justice: An Introduction to the Constitutional Principles of American Government 
Liberty, Order, and Justice: An Introduction to the Constitutional Principles of American Government (3rd ed.) (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2000).
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AMENDMENT XV (1870)
section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
This is the third and last Civil War or Reconstruction Amendment. Its original purpose was to extend the franchise to the newly emancipated slaves. The Fifteenth Amendment does not technically give blacks the right to vote as such, but instead informs the States that race cannot be one of the factors it uses in determining voter qualifications. In effect, however, the Amendment as interpreted by the Supreme Court confers a right to vote upon all blacks who otherwise meet a State’s eligibility standards regarding such matters as age and residency. The Supreme Court has also held that the right extends beyond the general election to primary elections.
Section 2 of the Fifteenth Amendment repeats the Enforcement Clause language of the Thirteenth and Fourteenth amendments. Congress rarely used this power before it enacted the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and its ensuing amendments. Under this Act, Congress abolished literacy tests and racial gerrymandering, thereby prohibiting the States and their political subdivisions from intentionally “watering down” the black vote by drawing up electoral districts that reduce the impact of the black vote or reduce the chances of electing a black candidate to office. The Act also restricts the States in those instances where the drawing of electoral districts simply results in a dilution of black voting strength, whether by accident or design.